mini excavators

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by zedosix, Feb 25, 2004.

  1. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,629

    Just looking for some feedback on mini excavators. I really like the kubota kx-413v and the gehl 153. Does anyone have some experience in particular with gehl products. The variable track width is standard on both machines. Gehl seems to have the upper hand in hp and hydraulic pump pressure, but they have only been in the excavator business for 4 years. Price is almost identical.

    I will probably sample both products first before I make any buying decisions.
     
  2. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    If you are going togo with a mini go with a Kubota or look at the new John Deere mini. I have ran a 330 Bobcat machine and I didn't like its tippyness I darn near rolled the machine a few times.

    I don't think I would buy a Bobcat mini I have worked with a Kubota 161 Mini I'am pretty impressed with it.

    You want the joysticks on the arm rests like the big machines you get less operator fatigue as your only working your wrists and your arms are supported.

    The other thing I don't like is the rubber tracks I find them slippery you start working on slopes they don't hold to the ground. The bobcat machine I was running wouldn't climb the slope I was working on the tracks just spun like rubber tires.

    I had to push myself up the hill with the bucket then pull back on the travel sticks with my knees because there are no foot pedals on them. You definatly didn't want to let up on the blade too fast because it rolled forward and almost stood on its end. Had to reach out with the bucket and take the weight of the machine lift the blade then lower the machine down.

    I probably was pushing the gradability of the machine it might be a better machine if it had wide steel tracks.
     
  3. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,629

    I tested the gehl 222 model today, basically just sat in it went thru the motions of the arm and bucket etc. Not to noisy which is a good thing. It has the controls where you just use your wrists. Felt good all in all. It is a demo unit with only 7 hrs on it and the guy wants 33 for it. A new one is 40 after discounts. One feature that is real nice is the variable track width and it has whats called house levelling. For ex. if you were excavating on sloped ground you could tilt the machine up to 15 degrees, still allowing you to dig straight.
    I will be trying the kubota kx41-3v next week. Unforturnately this is the only size kubota that has the variable track width. This is a necessity since most of my work is in small spaces. I don't like the bobcat excavators, their skid steers are very nice though.
     
  4. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    The Bobcat machine I was running is about 2000lbs heavier than the Gehl you were looking at and I found the machine is a tad too small. I think a 8000lb machine would do better the machine I was running was around 6200lbs it didn't have quite enough power.


    What are you using the excavator for ?
     
  5. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,629

    I do hardscaping for a living. Most of the time is spent in peoples side and back yards. Usually have to squeeze between one house and another. This is where the variable track widths come in handy. Basically just trying to find the largest machine with variable tracks. I don't know of anything larger than the 2 and a quarter ton gehl. We do alot of interlock around pools and side walks, lots of front entrances with celtik wall and tumbled pavers etc. I have a couple of skid steers for the heavier work. I just want to be more accurate on my digging and not have the mess to deal with.
     
  6. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,128

    Gehl does not build that excavator. It is built in Austria I believe (don't quote me). I have owned several mini excavators. I have owned an IHI and currently own a Takeuchi. IHI is great excavator with great service and they make an expandable tracked excavator (as do most). Bobcat has had some trouble recently with its excavtors. Two of the machines in this area were bought back (1 was a 337 and the other a 341). Word I heard is that the bigger rental companies are dumping their Bobcat excavtors due to problems (thats a rumor I can't confirm). They now have a new machine out but probably is bigger than your wanting. I have ran several different Gehls and both were the bigger machines and rather liked them. I don't know anyone that has put any serious time on one. I would check out both IHI and Takeuchi as they both are sweet running excavators.
     
  7. UNISCAPER

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,426

    Gehl is a good company with great customer support. We put our money and trust in Caterpillar products. When you want to get a job done, without dealing with all the issues the Jap stuff will give you when it comes time to fix it, stay with Cat, or if you have a good Gehl dealer near you, go that route.
     
  8. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    In this area Hitachi is a common machine they range from EX-60s to EX-400s they are used everywhere from construction to forestry. If a machine needs repair a mechanic that deals with Hitachi comes up the next day can't say that for Cat they don't want to even bother.

    It is the same with Kubota, a guy I know has a 161 Machine if it needs repair he can get parts the next day or a service rep comes up todo the work. With Caterpillar they don't have field mechanics anymore if you want you machine repaired you have to lowbed it to a dealer.

    If I was in the market for a mini excavator it will be a Hitachi/John Deere or a Kubota it would be a tough call if between the two.

    The Bobcat machine I was running had the boom snapped off twice by other operators I don't know how many times its been welded up.
     
  9. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,128

    UNISCAPER: you may want to research where your CAT stuff is being made. You'll find that is "JAP" stuff. A majority of CAT equipment is made by Mitsibishi. Dozers and excavators I know are. "JAP" excavators have ruled the market for years. Why do you suppose CAT, DEERE, and CASE don't build their own? I'll answer it for you. Because they can't build them any better.
     
  10. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,629

    Well thanks for the input. I test ran the 223 gehl model today. I find it rather large for my needs, even though it has the variable tracks it is still to big of a machine. My buddy has a kx41-2v and loves it. What he really likes is that he can remove the canopy and not worry about hitting tree branches everytime he moves with it. I talked with someone who bought a 193 gehl and the one thing he did not like was the fact he couldn't remove the canopy. I have 4 kubota machines now so maybe this is the route I will eventually take. Next week will tell. More input would be appreciated on the kubota.

    thanks again
     

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